March 5th 2021. 12:00-13:30 (CET) on Zoom



The digital transformation leads to a profound and accelerating transformation of business activities, processes, competencies and significantly impacts work and society. Newly developed technology requires new attitudes and skills, shifting towards non-routine and knowledge-based jobs that increase the demand for tertiary education jobs with enhanced skills sets.

The EU has recognized a significant and systemic gap between the market needs and what is offered in terms of skills and competencies related to advanced digital technologies. The lack of staff with the right skills as well as recruiting specialists with proper skills are both the main obstacles to new investment for businesses and innovation. Moreover, the fast pace of evolution of these technologies requires a constant and continuous update of the digital skills including those people already in employment. The existing offer for training and retrain the existing workforce seems not to be sufficient and it is not particularly tailored to meet the needs of SMEs.

BDVA/DAIRO, being aware of this problem, has decided to organize a webinar to analyze the challenges that SMEs are facing regarding digital skills.




The objective of the online webinar is to highlight the challenges SMEs are facing today regarding the lack of professionals with the proper skills on data science and digital competences. The webinar is also meant to get feedback from companies. In particular, we have designed a round table in which specialists from SMEs and large companies, centers of excellence and policy makers will discuss the issue from different perspectives. Finally, we will present a survey that will serve as a starting point for further discussions and a position paper.




• Artur Romão (Director, Innovation and Development at DECSIS)
• Angela Fessl (Deputy Research Area Manager, Dep. Data-driven Business, Know Center)
• Brendan Rowan (BlueSpec)
• Benjamin Junior (Director at Sonae Invest Management)
• Round table moderated by Ernestina Menasalvas (Professor at UPM)




12:00    Introduction (Ernestina Menasalvas)
12:05    A perspective on Skills (Brendan Rowan)
12:25    SMEs and Data Science Skills (Artur Romao)
12:40    Skills, CoE and DIH (Angela Fessl)
12:55    SMEs and Large Company interaction (Benjamin Junior)
13:15    Discussion
13:30    Closure


(Featured photo by heylagostechie on Unsplash)